Monday, February 13, 2006

A little about this site...

This is probably a little late as we have been writing in this blog for a few months now... but better late than never?

Thinking back when I was younger, I have memories of trying to bake cakes or cookies and trying to help out Mom when I could (taste testing!) When I hit my teenage years, I was side tracked with growing up and dealing with the issues that come with that and lost interest in cooking/baking among other things.

When I hit my 20's, I had grown tired of always eating out for most of our meals and remembered how much I enjoyed spending time in the kitchen. I started slowly and made a lot of mistakes along the way. Many of which we did eat (ugh.... not so good memories!), but I've been getting better over the years I think. I've learned from reading many cookbooks, over the internet and picked up quite a few tips from television shows on PBS and FoodTV. I'm not a professional cook by any means, nor do I try to be. I certainly don't get paid to do this and I am truly just an amatuer trying to be the best I can. Do I someday wish to do this professionaly? Maybe, but right now I'm happy with where I am at.

We send along pictures as we go, and while we don't have expensive equiptment we do strive to make them fun or interesting. They don't always look how I want them to, or they may be pretty plain, but that's just how it is. We enjoy playing with digital cameras, but soley on an amatuer basis - we do it for fun and learn as we go.

I'm here to share the recipes we try (be it a success or failure), new products we might find and our adventures in the kitchen. If you happen to come upon a recipe you haven't tried and love it, great! If we talk about a product we bought that you didn't know was out there, cool! I still have a lot to learn, try some of the many foods we have not eaten, and I'll share some of the tips and tricks we learn as we go. We're always open to input, tips and suggestions!

So if you are still with us, let's get to dinner!

We have made quite a few casseroles or stratas that call for cubed bread, using sourdough or french. Tonight's dish, English Muffin Strata with Ham and Cheese, uses these firm and spongy-on-the-inside muffins. I used a Whole Grain version we've seen in the store before - it added a nutty flavor and a more hearty texture. They are first split, cut into wedges and then half of them are placed in the bottom of a baking dish. Salty Canadian bacon and rich Swiss cheese are layered over and then the remaining wedges are arranged on top. This is left to soak in a slightly spicy mixture of plain soy milk, eggs, mustard and cayenne for a few hours. After the trip in the oven, the mixture puffs up from the eggs and a crisp outside crust forms on top. The inside is firm, but a bit creamy from the amount of liquid. This will make for an excellent lunch tomorrow.


Recipes

53 comments:

  1. You are one of my favorite blogs. I always check it. I love reading about the recipes, drool over the picutures, and really like reading about your new recipes etc.

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  2. I, too, love reading your blog. You are such an inspiration. I check it everyday, unless I'm sick or out of town. I love that you try so many new recipes. I can feel the joy YOU have from cooking, baking, sharing recipes and pictures and really there's nothing more enjoyable than that!! Keep up the good work.

    Tammy

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  3. I love strata! Thank you for including the recipe. Happy Valentine's Day.

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  4. I ditto the comments above.

    you are far too modest, Joe. this blog seems to me to be far more than what you make it out to be!

    professional-looking with a home-y feeling is how I would describe it.

    your photography is top notch, really. as is your recipe selection and your thorough yet succinct and to-the-point reviews.

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  5. I agree, its my favorite blog and I check it every day when I get in to work. One question though, I've been wanting to try some of the muffin recipes you've posted, but is there a difference between whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour? I didnt see a specific pastry flour when I was out the other day, so now I'm confused. Thanks!

    -Laura

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  6. Add me to the fan club list. You're great: already good and getting better!

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  7. I am right there with everyone else! I love your blog and love to see what you will do next. I always hope I am going to see another yummy dessert that I can drool over! Keep going! I love it!

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  8. Thanks for sharing some insight into the impetus behind the blog. Your passion for cooking shines through, and its obvious you know the most important ingredient to any recipe: love.

    Happy Valentine's day, and buon appetito!

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  9. I look forward to coming by every day to see what you've cooked up...thanks for all the work you put into this blog...it doesn't go unnoticed. :)

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  10. I concur. Love your site, ideas, & photography. Keep up the good work. Love today's recipe too.

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  11. I like your blog too. Your food and writing is always tasty yet simple without lapsing into overdone delusions of grandeur. Like mine just did. And most of the time I just want to see the food (and check out how you did it) ... not how well you managed the lighting or what nice crockery you used!

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  12. Hi Joe, thanks for stopping by! i saw your comment after posting a post today, good timing lol Your story is interesting, i never thought a 20 something could get sick of eating out but to be honest thats what got my interest in cooking and food and ingredients rolling too so completely understandable :) some fabulous recipes you have too!!

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  13. This blog is one of my "must see daily" places. I love your pix and have tried out quite a few of your recipes, mostly the desserts. Your presentations are as professional as anything I have seen. Speaking as a recent culinary grad. and current baking student, it is clear that you have a passion for food. Thank you for your inspiration.

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  14. Oh yes, one more here for the "everyday visitor club"! Your blog is one of my favorites Joe! I like the way you write and talk about food and your experiments, plus the pictures always look great and I get nice reviews from great recipes featuring ingredients I also like!
    Ana

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  15. Joe, I have been reading your blog daily since shortly after you started it. you have come a long way and your blog is just great. Yours is an inspiration to me. Keep it up!

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  16. Wonderful post, Joe. I really think you're doing a fantastic job and I love your site. Happy Valentine's Day, too!

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  17. Your blog has everything I want--great, easy-to-cook recipes that are still "elegant", and fabulous photos! I still haven't mastered the art of food photography. I have a long list of recipes from your site I want to use.

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  18. Joe, your blog was one of the loveliest surprises of 2005. Sometimes I just pop round to get cheered up, to have my senses all tickled. You have been doing a jolly good job from where I am standing.Thank you for sharing all these great recipes and comments. It is such great honour.

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  19. Thank you everyone for the support and I appreciate the comments and e-mails.

    Laura - about the flour - There is a difference in whole wheat vs whole wheat pastry flour. WW Pastry is a low gluten flour that is made from soft wheat. I prefer it over whole wheat as it makes baked good less heavy. I find it labeled as WW pastry or Whole Grain. Bobs red mill/Arrowhead flour are common brands here!

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  20. Yes,you are one of my favorites !
    I love to read your words also in this post ,
    "IF you're still with us.."- yes ,I'm always.
    Thank you . ;)

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  21. Just discovered your blog and I'm so excited! Thank you for sharing.
    Patty

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  22. Chanit - Thanks :)

    Patty - Glad you found our site!

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  23. I was hanging around on the CL BB (as I always do) and noticed your blog tag line and am so glad that I did. Such a wonderfully executed online food diary!!! I just want to let you know how much I enjoyed reading through your descriptions of the many recipes that you posted about, as well as, the beautiful pictures that you include along with them. Wow!!
    I don't usually follow blogs; however, I will certainly be checking in on yours (and have just added your blog to my "favorites").
    Thanks again!

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  24. I see this is an older post but I somehow stumbled upon it trying to play "catch up". I agree with most here...this is my FAVORITE food blog. I was linked here from another blog and fell in love with this one....the photography is what hooked me at first. Amazing!
    Then I was hooked by the daily adventures in the kitchen and the stories. I find I need to know what the co-workers will be having on Wednesdays LOL, and when the obscure ingredients are purchased on Sundays I need to know what they will be used for. It's just a fun place! You do a great job, Joe! By the way, what's your screen name at CL? I hang out there once in a while but I don't know which posts are yours.

    Val

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  25. ajmjr1@cox.net4/21/2006 07:21:00 PM

    Hi Joe, tell us why you went yo DC. It's actually not far from here. Newport News, Va. I found you through S'kat and have enjoyed the site. Tried the English muffin Strata. Good, but could use a little more spice. As in hot sauce. Then it was fine. Arthur

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  26. I recently stumbled across ur blog, and i love it! i especially love drooling over ur pictures...well done for this wonderful blog, and keep it up!

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  27. v russell @myway.com12/06/2006 08:25:00 PM

    Hey Joe, I love your recipes & comment s. I am 72 yrs but think you are wonderful! Keep it up, Virginia

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  28. I love this blog and check it every day. Your pictures are the best part. The food you make looks incredible! It's nice to see a fellow foodie in my town. :)

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  29. hola!
    i love your food! looks soooooo tasty !your friends+family must adore you!
    and the pictures are just the best!have been looking at them for more than an hour anc cant get enough!
    thank you so much for sharing your gift with us!
    regards from northern spain
    will show you other type of Tortilla espaƱola one time!

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  30. Hi Joe, Just found your Blog this morning and Wow!!! You have some really deliciuos sounding recipes and since I have a new stove I hope to be trying a few of them out!!! Will be putting you in my must read list. Thanks for sharing!!

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  31. what I wanted to say already been said...LOL So, 2 thumbs up! Keep the kitchen smoking... Thank you for sharing the recipes.

    Best Wishes

    pixen

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  32. Your website is beautiful! I just found it the other night when someone mentioned your oreo truffles that you made. I am going to try them today for a party. Thanks for doing what you do

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  33. I've been lurking for a little bit, but finally decided to write and say how much I've enjoyed your blog! You take amazing pictures of food, and like others have said, I usually find myself drooling over them! Thanks for this fun blog!
    ~Kari

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  34. I have just come across your blog via FarmGirl and have already printed out a couple of recipes to try - not good, seeing as I am trying to lose a pound or two!!!

    What a lovely blog - I shall be returning!

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  35. You are so good and all the work and effort you have put in the blog is really appreciate it.I think it is time to begin a proffetional business with all the knowledge and passion you have.Bravo!!
    I am an amateur too with a close background to yours with the passion of dessert baking.Check this if you have the time...
    http://www.grouprecipes.com/people/ahmed1

    Regards
    Ahmed

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  36. THIS BLOG IS ACTUALLY AMAZING
    The number of recipes, so well written too, is just mind blowing. Everything looks soo good that I had such difficulty choosing something to try out. So I closed my eyes and randomly picked out the Rocky Ledge Bar recipe. Anyways I'm 17 and live in dorm that has no cooking facilities what so ever but I just LOVE to cook. So I finally went out yesterday and bought a mini convection oven and plan on trying out that recipe on Sunday. I'll tell you how it turns out :D
    -MQ

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  37. I absolutely love this blog. I am curious which little suburb you are from. I noticed that your coop is in Burnsville. My sister lives in Farmington and works in Roseville. Are you close by?

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  38. I just stumbled across this site looking for bread recipes and I think it's fantastic! I'm the same as you, I'm starting in my 20's just experimenting in the kitchen, finding out what we like and don't like, what works and what doesn't, and learning so much along the way! Cooking is a great thing and it's nice to have that talent. All the best!

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  39. Thanks for the nice comments! I hope we are keeping the site entertaining enough!

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  40. Anon - Yes, we are very close to the Farmington/AV/Burnsville area!

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  41. Your blog is beautiful. The text speaks to me and the pictures make me want to drop in for dinner.

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  42. Great blog, it's the only one I check weekly and have never had a bad experience with a recipe you've tried. Thank you!

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  43. How lucky we are to have been hosted by Jeff and Joe for several days. We enjoyed shopping, painting pumpkins (having been encouraged to use our dormant right brains!), sightseeing and dining on extremely delicious gourmet treats. We would wait in giddy anticipaton as we heard the sounds of pots and pans and smelled the aromas wafting into the living room before each meal. Most of all, it was wonderful to be hosted by dear friends in such a warm, spacious, stylish, comfortable home. Life is good!

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  44. Thank you so much for having such a wonderful blog! I am so very appreciative that you put pictures with every recipe because I love to have some sort of clue as to how things should turn out. The amount of baking/cooking that you do is absolutely amazing and you are a most definitely one of my idols! :) Thanks for all the great recipes!

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  45. Thank you for taking the time to post such wonderful recipes! My son told me about your blog and I have used several...you have a warm gift for writing and I enjoy seeing what yummy item you are sharing. I am very grateful for your generosity and always say a little prayer of blessing for you. Warmest Regards, Michaels Mom Grammary

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  46. While surfing around for a recipe similar to your pasta & egg scramble (btw, adding chopped hearts of palm adds a nice zip!), I stumbled on your site. And stayed. And stayed.

    Your blog is great - your photos are tempting, your recipes mouth-watering, and the stories behind each, inviting. You may not consider yourself a professional chef, but you COULD be one, IMO!

    Thanks for all of these tasty dishes...I plan on trying as many of these as possible at home! :)

    Kelli

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  47. i'm a new cook too! early 20s and back in the kitchen after years of rusty skill. i'm loving my food journey and love reading your blog!! peace, love, and food writing :)

    <3 meaghan

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  48. I stumbled across your blog the other day and have been busy reading about your cooking adventures.

    I'm also from NC and love to cook and bake. Good luck with your cooking adventures!

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  49. Oh my goodness! How did I only just discover your blog? I think I need to take the week off and spend my time baking and cooking through these amazing recipes. You are very talented. Any favorties...any desserts we just HAVE to make? Thanks, Stephanie

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  50. Love your blog !! I dod not have a blog before, but now that I do, I am going to put yours on my Blogroll, hope you don't mind. Keep up the good work !!

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  51. I sure miss the weekly readings. I feel fairly sad that my blog favorite has slipped away.

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  52. Not slipped away quite yet, but status is unknown!

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